Review of Logitech Z-5500 5.1 THX Speaker System

It was my birthday a few days ago, and so I thought it was a good idea to buy myself something nice. I chose the Logitech Z-5500 Digital THX Speaker system. It was expensive, yes, and sometimes when I buy expensive computer equipment, I have that thought that maybe I could have lived without it and it looked better in reviews and on the shelf than it is in real life. This is not one of those cases. Let me start by saying that these speakers sound phenominal. They blew me away. Almost literally, as that 10″ sub under the desk packs quite a punch. I haven’t even turned the volume up beyond half way yet. I’ll do that on Sunday afternoon when my neighbours are having an afternoon sleep.

I read several reviews before I bought them, and everyone said they were great. The one big gripe a lot of people had is that the speaker leads are fixed into the speakers and have RCA plugs on the other end. If you need to extend these cables, or would prefer to buy other speaker leads, you couldn’t. Well, I don’t know if Logitech updated the model or something, but my set has standard speaker leads with clips on both sides, so I could use any leads I wish. Way to go Logitech! Maybe they read some of the reviews? I am just using the leads that come standard, and they seem to work fine.

My good mate, Chris has the Z-680’s, which are the previous generation model, before the Z-5500. He raved about them, and I’ve only ever seem good reviews for them. Logitech themselves claim they have improved a lot on the Z-680 with these, and reviews agree. Not having heard the previous generation myself, I am unable to comment.

The satelites feel solid and well made. They have removable covers too, if you are keen to have a silver face rather than black. Having the covers on or off makes no difference to the sound. The center speaker is exactly the same as the other four, except that it is mounted horizontally on it’s stand. It is also more adjustable than the others. It can be tilted up or down, whereas the other four can’t. It would be nice if they could. The stands are built onto the satelites, and can’t be removed. They rotate around 180 degrees to the back for wall mounting. This is where I had my only issue. Mounting these suckers nicely is really hard, since they need 2 screws each and the speakers kind of intrude on the space you need to get your screwdriver into in order to mount them securely. I managed, but I’m glad it’s over. Wouldn’t want to do it again.

The subwoofer is massive! That is all I can say. You actually have to see this guy to believe it. Sounds incredible though! I think my house will shake and fall down before I manage to strain these speakers at all.

The control center is excellent. It looks sharp, and feels solid. It has a blue on white backlit LCD display detailing the current audio source and any effects in use. The large volume knob looks nice, and feels like it belongs on a high quality and expensive amplifier. All the functions are accessable from the remote control too.

The audio inputs are on the control center. They include a 6ch direct input, which I am using from my Sound Blaster Audigy 2 Sound Card. It also has a coax digital in, and an optical digital in. Switching sources is done with the press on one button. There is also headphone and auxilliry input jacks on the control center.

I have tested these speakers now with WMVHD movies, Audio DVD, and standard CDs. I also played Call of Duty 2 on them for a while, and was asked to please turn it down by my wife. Mmmm. This could be problem.

As soon as my Samsung HT system which is currently my main movie watching sound system goes on the blink (which might happen soon 😉 ) I’m replacing it with another set of these. They are spectacular.

I think it is a sensible thing that Logitech elected to stick with a 5.1 solution for this speaker system, rather than go 6.1 or 7.1. Although 6.1 DVD’s (DTS-ES etc.) are becoming more commonplace now, the difference isn’t that big, and, unless you have a wall right behind you, where are you supposed to put the thing? By staying with 5.1, Logitech have given us all we need and more, while keeping the costs reasonable (well, maybe not!) and keeping it simple.

I love these things. I love em. I LOVE THEM!

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